There are 64 faceless Georgians who died during the Vietnam War.
Janna Hoehn wants to put a face to the dead. Their names are etched onto the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., but Hoehn fears their photographed faces could fade and be lost to history.
She and a handful of other volunteers across the country have made it their mission to find pictures of the 58,000 who died during Vietnam and display their photos online with the “Wall of Faces” project. Hoehn has gone sleuthing state by state and collected 7,000 pictures. Now, she has started work on Georgia’s veterans and needs help.
There are 11 from Fulton County without a picture, two from Cobb County and one each from Cherokee County, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. The others are scattered throughout the state.
Not up to a 600-mile trip?
Once found, their pictures are displayed on the website of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces. The group dedicated the 250-foot memorial wall in Washington, D.C. in 1982.
When Hoehn joined the effort to find photos eight years ago, there were 32,000 photos missing. Now, she and her team of about a dozen — mostly Vietnam veterans — only needed to locate the final 727 pictures as of Tuesday.
The pictures collected so far show shirtless muscle men in bucket hats, clean-cut faces with wide eyes, and grainy shots of soldiers posing with rifles.
Hoehn said she has been interviewed by hundreds of newspapers trying to get the word out to relatives and survivors who may have a missing photo.
“It takes real detective work to figure this all out,” said Hoehn. She said researchers like her usually find success by learning where the deceased went to high school and then asking someone in the state to track down a yearbook.
But there’s a large gap for African-American soldiers who attended schools that didn’t have yearbooks. “Nobody could afford to buy one so they just didn’t do one,” she said.
The military did take photos of soldiers going off to war, but sometimes they can’t be located and often the quality of the decades-old pictures is so poor that Hoehn said it doesn’t honor the sacrifice they made.
“I do not wish for anyone to feel badly that their loved one (or) friend is not listed or forgotten,” she said.
The 63-year-old works as a florist in Maui, Hawaii. She has no connection to Vietnam, but she graduated high school as the roughly 20-year war that the U.S. got involved in more directly in the 1960s. She said part of her drive to find the photos is making up for the mistreatment some soldiers received when they came back from the controversial war, which ended in 1975.
“I still remember how the Vietnam vets were treated when they returned … it was horrible,” she said.
This whole part of her life began when she and her husband took a trip to the nation’s capital. They stopped by the memorial wall. She got fixated on one name, researched him and eventually found a photo of him, which she put in a scrapbook.
Two years later, she heard that the group behind the wall was looking for pictures, so she submitted hers. The organization reached out, asking her for help finding more photos. Seven thousand photos later and with only several hundred to go, Hoehn said she remains committed to doing right by those who died for their country.
“We will never forget any of them,” she said.
Hoehn is also asking for Georgia “boots on the ground” volunteers who can do research at local libraries. Anyone interested can email her at [email protected]
Below are the 64 Georgians who died during Vietnam for whom researchers need a photo, along with their hometowns. Anyone with photos can email them to Janna Hoehn at [email protected]
Eddie Brown, Jr., 1940-1965, Macon, Bibb County
Elbert J. Baker, Jr., 1946-1969, Quitman, Brooks County
John W. Devine, 1947-1967, Waynesboro, Burke County
Charles E. Carpenter, 1948-1969, Savannah, Chatham County
Thomas Patterson, 1946-1967, Savannah, Chatham County
Eugene E. West, 1947-1967, Savannah, Chatham County
Russell Jones, Jr., 1948-1969, Woodstock, Cherokee County
Fred L. Thomas, 1943-1966, Athens, Clarke County
Willie E. Glover, 1948-1968, Marietta, Cobb County
Roger Hulsey, 1943-1968, Powder Springs, Cobb County
Virgil Stanley, Jr., 1943-1967, Decatur, DeKalb County
Lem Clark, 1936-1971, Eastman, Dodge County
Donnie Coleman, 1946-1967, Albany, Dougherty County
Robert L. Dorsey, 1929-1966, Albany, Dougherty County
Dwight B. Howell, 1949-1971, Albany, Dougherty County
Harry J. Lumpkin, 1949-1970, Albany, Dougherty County
Roosevelt Williams, 1937-1968, Jakin, Early County
James A. Lanier, 1948-1968, Guyton, Effingham County
Luther Chambliss, 1947-1967, Atlanta, Fulton County
Gregory R. Gaines, 1948-1968, Atlanta, Fulton County
Thomas Graham, Jr., 1948-1969, Atlanta, Fulton County
George E. Jones, Jr., 1943-1968, Atlanta, Fulton County
Moses C. Lee, 1943-1966, Atlanta, Fulton County
Joseph Monson, 1949-1970, Atlanta, Fulton County
Robert J. Padgett, 1948-1967, College Park, Fulton County
Rodrick Troup, 1951-1971, Atlanta, Fulton County
Albert D. White, 1947-1968, Atlanta, Fulton County
Clarence A. Whitehead, 1935-1966, Atlanta, Fulton County
Charlie L. Wilder, 1948-1969 Fairburn, Fulton County
Atwell A. Armstrong, 1947-1968, Brunswick, Glynn County
Arthur M. Downs, 1945-1968, Brunswick, Glynn County
Oscar T. Francis, 1951-1970, Brunswick, Glynn County
Michael E. Evans, 1947-1968, Greensboro, Greene County
Grady Thacker, 1945-1968, Norcross, Gwinnett County
John C. Merritt, 1945-1971, Ocilla, Irwin County
Dan N. James, 1948-1968, Riceboro, Liberty County
Odie C. McMurray, 1948-1969, Buena Vista, Marion County
Lester Rushin, 1939-1972, Buena Vista, Marion County
Henry L. Watts, Sr., 1932-1971, Baconton, Mitchell County
William D. Davis, 1935-1967, Columbus, Muscogee County
Arthur J. Earles, 1947-1968, Columbus, Muscogee County
Emmitt Mays, Jr., 1946-1966, Columbus, Muscogee County
Henry Pasley, 1926-1966, Columbus, Muscogee County
William Powell, 1938-1968, Columbus, Muscogee County
Howard Williams, 1941-1968, Columbus, Muscogee County
Moses Williams, 1941-1968, Columbus, Muscogee County
Charles Wood, 1931-1968, Columbus, Muscogee County
James Wright, 1946-1966, Columbus, Muscogee County
John H. Barrett, 1949-1970, Fort Valley, Peach County
Johnny C. Preston, 1939-1967, Fort Valley, Peach County
Thomas F. Daniell, 1949-1969, Aragon, Polk County
Wilburn E. Wester, 1924-1968, Cedartown, Polk County
Roger Dorsey, 1942-1966, Augusta, Richmond County
Theodore W. High IV, 1945-1970, Augusta, Richmond County
Paul E. Swim, 1919-1966, Augusta, Richmond County
Neely C. Walker, 1929-1970, Augusta, Richmond County
Elijah Herring, Jr., 1949-1969, Leslie Sumter, County
Samuel B. Hudson, 1948-1968, Glennville, Tattnall County
Vertis L. Mackey, 1947-1967, Manassas, Tattnall County
Terry M. Rimes, 1922-1967, Thomasville, Thomas County
Thomas S. Cameron, 1945-1966, Hogansville, Troup County
Juergen A. Mayer, 1941-1966, Millwood, Ware County
Tommy L. Smith, 1944-1967, Preston, Webster County
Roger L. Bonner, Jr., 1945-1966, Glenwood, Wheeler County
Anyone who has done intense research knows there are some outliers.
Hoehn said there is a photo on record for Atlanta’s John Blount, who was born in 1949 and died 1970, but the quality is so bad that she is hoping someone has a higher-quality picture of him.
And there are about eight people who Hoehn believes have ties to Georgia but have their home of record listed as elsewhere. She said this discrepancy is often explained by soldiers getting their draft orders while out of town and then having their home recorded as wherever the draft offices was located.
Helmut W. Paier 1942-1969, Unknown (ties to Atlanta), Hampton, Virginia
Ramon Gonzalez, 1939-1968, Unknown (ties to Atlanta), Newburgh, New York
Raymond C. Jackson, 1945-1967, Unknown (ties to Atlanta), Mt. Vernon, New York
Richard David, Jr., 1945-1968, Unknown (ties to Atlanta), Mt. Vernon, New York
James Barnhill, 1947-1968, Unknown (ties to Georgia), New York City, New York
Lee James, Jr., 1941-1966, Unknown (ties to Georgia), New York City, New York
Isadora Jenkins, 1952-1971, Unknown (ties to Georgia), New York City, New York
James Earl Clark, 1928-1965, Unknown (ties to Muscogee County), New York
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